One of the most common searches new moms make on Google is “How to Stimulate a Newborn”. Why such a rush? Because most educated moms are aware that a healthy development is based both on love and stimulus from an early age. And although it’s clear that a newborn baby is apparently highly unresponsive to outside stimulus, he is actually absorbing all the experiences he’s having in this period. A baby is considered a newborn for the first 28 days of his life, so make the best out of this time spent with your child and make sure he has the following experiences.
- Dialogue/monologue – talk to your kid. It’s clear he’s not ready yet to answer you back, but this is helpful for his brain’s development.
- During his wake time, move him around the house and keep bright, colored and shiny stuff in his sight. Also, keep in mind that he only sees clear at a distance of about 8 to 12 inches, so you need to make sure everything he sees is new to him (and attractive).
- Carry him – you can use a baby wearing system, like a wrap, which is recommended for a newborn, in order to hold him close and give him confidence that you’ll always by his side.
- Smile constantly when talking to the baby. It’s very important for him to feel the good vibe, and even if he still does not understand what a smile serves for, the warmth of the feeling and gesture is enough for now.
- Sing a little song… especially if he “knows” songs from his days in the belly, sing those along with YouTube. You may not be aware, but those are already familiar to him.
- Set a routine for the baby – because this calms him and lets him know he is in control of the situation.
- Massage him every evening – buy some baby oil, pour it into your hands, rub them together to make sure they’re warm and gently massage your baby. He’ll find this both stimulating and soothing.
- Wrap up nappy time in a story – because most babies are incredibly fussy and irritated when a diaper change is due, it’s important to keep him entertained with a narrative regarding this very important action.
- Start teaching him cause and effect by telling him what’s going to happen. Even if he’s too little to understand the principle, he’ll associate your words and sounds with a certain action. For example: “I will turn off the light”, and poof, it suddenly goes dark.
- Play with water – because not all babies love water in their first months it’s important to try different variations when it comes to bath time – pour water slowly, splash water, dip him slowly in it, try keeping him face down (with the other parent) to the water… whatever works and makes him happy.
Such gestures will boost your baby’s confidence in you and although at the end of his newborn period – which is actually really short – he’ll still be unable to respond clearly to your actions or gestures, you’ll already have a bond built between the two of you.